Guest Post: Peak Denial About Peak Oil

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform

Peak Denial About Peak Oil

It is par for the course that with oil hovering between $70 and $80
per barrel Americans have continued to buy SUVs and Trucks at a rapid
pace. Politicians don’t have constituents screaming at them because gas
is $4.00 per gallon, so it is no longer an issue for them. They need to
focus on the November elections. It is no time to discuss a difficult
issue that requires foresight and honesty. It is no time to tell the
American public that oil will be over $200 a barrel within the next 5
years. Anyone who would go on CNBC today and declare that oil will be
over $200 a barrel would be eviscerated by bubble head Bartiromo or
clueless Kudlow. Bartiromo filled up her Escalade this morning for $2.60
a gallon, so there is no looming crisis on the horizon. The myopic view
of the world by politicians, the mainstream media and the American
public in general is breathtaking to behold. Despite the facts slapping
them across the face, Americans believe cheap oil is here to stay. It is
their right to have an endless supply of cheap oil. The American way of
life has been granted by God. We are the chosen people.

A funny thing happened on our way to permanent prosperity and
unlimited cheap oil. The right to prosperity was yanked out from
underneath us by the current Greater Depression. The worldwide economic
downturn has masked the onset of peak cheap oil. Therefore, when it hits
America with its full fury, it will be a complete surprise to the
ignorant masses and the ignorant politicians who run this country. A
Gallup Poll in August asked Americans about our most important problems.
Where is the concern about future energy supplies? It isn’t on the
radar screens of Americans. They are probably more worried about whether
The Situation will hook up with Snookie on the Jersey Shore reality


It is not surprising that the American public, American politicians,
and the American media don’t see the impending crisis. The organizations
that have an interest in looking farther than next week into the future
have all concluded that the downside of peak oil will cause chaos
throughout the world. The US Military, the German Military, and the UK
Department of Energy have all done detailed studies of the situation and
come to the same conclusions. Social chaos, economic confusion, trade
barriers, conflict, food shortages, riots, and war are in our future.

The U.S. was warned in 2005. Its own Department of Energy
commissioned a report by Robert Hirsch to examine peak oil and its
potential consequences to the US. The introduction stated:

“The peaking of world oil production
presents the U.S. and the world with an unprecedented risk management
problem. As peaking is approached, liquid fuel prices and price
volatility will increase dramatically, and, without timely mitigation,
the economic, social, and political costs will be unprecedented. Viable
mitigation options exist on both the supply and demand sides, but to
have substantial impact, they must be initiated more than a decade in
advance of peaking.”

The main conclusions reached by the experts who worked on this report were:

  1. World oil peaking is going to happen, and will likely be abrupt.
    World production of conventional oil will reach a maximum and decline
  2. Oil peaking will adversely affect global economies, particularly the
    U.S. Over the past century the U.S. economy has been shaped by the
    availability of low-cost oil. The economic loss to the United States
    could be measured on a trillion-dollar scale. Aggressive fuel efficiency
    and substitute fuel production could provide substantial mitigation.
  3. The problem is liquid fuels for transportation. The lifetimes of
    transportation equipment are measured in decades. Rapid changeover in
    transportation equipment is inherently impossible. Motor vehicles,
    aircraft, trains, and ships have no ready alternative to liquid fuels.
  4. Mitigation efforts will require substantial time. Waiting until
    production peaks would leave the world with a liquid fuel deficit for 20
    years. Initiating a crash program 10 years before peaking leaves a
    liquid fuels shortfall of a decade. Initiating a crash program 20 years
    before peaking could avoid a world liquid fuels shortfall.
  5. It is a matter of risk management. The peaking of world oil
    production is a classic risk management problem. Mitigation efforts
    earlier than required may be premature, if peaking is long delayed. On
    the other hand, if peaking is soon, failure to initiate mitigation could
    be extremely damaging.
  6. Economic upheaval is not inevitable. Without mitigation, the peaking
    of world oil production will cause major economic upheaval. Given
    enough lead-time, the problems are soluble with existing technologies.
    New technologies will help, but on a longer time scale.

The Hirsch Report clearly laid out the problem. It urged immediate
action on multiple fronts. It is now 5 years later and absolutely
nothing has been done. In the meantime, it has become abundantly clear
that worldwide oil production peaked between 2005 and 2010. The Hirsch
Report concluded we needed to begin preparing 20 years before peak oil
in order to avoid chaos. We are now faced with the worst case scenario.

The US Military issued a Joint Operating Environment report earlier
this year. They have no political motivation to sugarcoat or present a
dire picture. This passage is particularly disturbing:

A severe energy crunch is inevitable
without a massive expansion of production and refining capacity. While
it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and
strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce
the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds.
Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions,
push fragile and failing states further down the path toward collapse,
and perhaps have serious economic impact on both China and India. At
best, it would lead to periods of harsh economic adjustment. To what
extent conservation measures, investments in alternative energy
production, and efforts to expand petroleum production from tar sands
and shale would mitigate such a period of adjustment is difficult to
predict. One should not forget that the Great Depression spawned a
number of totalitarian regimes that sought economic prosperity for their
nations by ruthless conquest.

Here is the summary of their analysis:

To generate the energy required worldwide by the 2030s would require us to find an additional 1.4 MBD every year until then.

the next twenty-five years, coal, oil, and natural gas will remain
indispensable to meet energy requirements. The discovery rate for new
petroleum and gas fields over the past two decades (with the possible
exception of Brazil) provides little reason for optimism that future
efforts will find major new fields.

present, investment in oil production is only beginning to pick up,
with the result that production could reach a prolonged plateau. By
2030, the world will require production of 118 MBD, but energy producers
may only be producing 100 MBD unless there are major changes in current
investment and drilling capacity.

2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as
early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD.

production and distribution infrastructure must see significant new
investment if energy demand is to be satisfied at a cost compatible with
economic growth and prosperity. Efficient hybrid, electric, and
flex-fuel vehicles will likely dominate light-duty vehicle sales by 2035
and much of the growth in gasoline demand may be met through increases
in biofuels production. Renewed interest in nuclear power and green
energy sources such as solar power, wind, or geothermal may blunt rising
prices for fossil fuels should business interest become actual
investment. However, capital costs in some power-generation and
distribution sectors are also rising, reflecting global demand for
alternative energy sources and hindering their ability to compete
effectively with relatively cheap fossil fuels. Fossil fuels will very
likely remain the predominant energy source going forward.

Just this week, the German magazine Der Spiegel obtained a
confidential study about peak oil that was done by the German military.
According to the German report, there is “some probability that peak oil
will occur around the year 2010 and that the impact on security is
expected to be felt 15 to 30 years later.” The major conclusions of the
study as detailed in Der Spiegel are as follows:

  1. Oil will determine power: The Bundeswehr
    Transformation Center writes that oil will become one decisive factor in
    determining the new landscape of international relations: “The relative
    importance of the oil-producing nations in the international system is
    growing. These nations are using the advantages resulting from this to
    expand the scope of their domestic and foreign policies and establish
    themselves as a new or resurgent regional, or in some cases even global
    leading powers.”
  2. Increasing importance of oil exporters: For
    importers of oil more competition for resources will mean an increase in
    the number of nations competing for favor with oil-producing nations.
    For the latter this opens up a window of opportunity which can be used
    to implement political, economic or ideological aims. As this window of
    time will only be open for a limited period, “this could result in a
    more aggressive assertion of national interests on the part of the
    oil-producing nations.”
  3. Politics in place of the market: The Bundeswehr
    Transformation Center expects that a supply crisis would roll back the
    liberalization of the energy market. “The proportion of oil traded on
    the global, freely accessible oil market will diminish as more oil is
    traded through bi-national contracts,” the study states. In the long
    run, the study goes on, the global oil market, will only be able to
    follow the laws of the free market in a restricted way. “Bilateral,
    conditioned supply agreements and privileged partnerships, such as those
    seen prior to the oil crises of the 1970s, will once again come to the
  4. Market failures: The authors paint a bleak picture
    of the consequences resulting from a shortage of petroleum. As the
    transportation of goods depends on crude oil, international trade could
    be subject to colossal tax hikes. “Shortages in the supply of vital
    goods could arise” as a result, for example in food supplies. Oil is
    used directly or indirectly in the production of 95 percent of all
    industrial goods. Price shocks could therefore be seen in almost any
    industry and throughout all stages of the industrial supply chain. “In the medium term the global economic system and every market-oriented national economy would collapse.”
  5. Relapse into planned economy: Since virtually all
    economic sectors rely heavily on oil, peak oil could lead to a “partial
    or complete failure of markets,” says the study. “A conceivable
    alternative would be government rationing and the allocation of
    important goods or the setting of production schedules and other
    short-term coercive measures to replace market-based mechanisms in times
    of crisis.”
  6. Global chain reaction: “A restructuring of oil
    supplies will not be equally possible in all regions before the onset of
    peak oil,” says the study. “It is likely that a large number of states
    will not be in a position to make the necessary investments in time,” or
    with “sufficient magnitude.” If there were economic crashes in some
    regions of the world, Germany could be affected. Germany would not
    escape the crises of other countries, because it’s so tightly integrated
    into the global economy.
  7. Crisis of political legitimacy: The Bundeswehr
    study also raises fears for the survival of democracy itself. Parts of
    the population could perceive the upheaval triggered by peak oil “as a
    general systemic crisis.” This would create “room for ideological and
    extremist alternatives to existing forms of government.” Fragmentation
    of the affected population is likely and could “in extreme cases lead to
    open conflict.”

Even the International Energy Agency, which has always painted a rosy
picture of the future, has even been warning about future shortages due
to lack of investment and planning.

Americans think that the discovery of oil on our soil in 1859 has
entitled us to an endless supply. It is not so. We account for 4.3% of
the world’s population but consume 26% of the world’s oil. As China,
India and the rest of the developing world become economic powerhouses,
they will consume more and more of the dwindling supply of easily
accessible oil. As the consumption curve continues upwards, the
production curve will be flat. The result will be huge spikes in prices.
It will not be a straight line, but prices will become progressively
higher. As the studies referenced above have concluded, the result will
be economic pain, social chaos, supply wars, food shortages, and a
drastic reduction in lifestyles of Americans. They won’t see it coming,
just like they didn’t see the housing collapse coming or the financial
system collapse coming. They’ll just keep filling up those Escalades
until the pump runs dry.


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Millennial's picture

Hey does Mtn Dew count as fruit in my diet?


I think it does.

papaswamp's picture

I'll disagree with the graph...we start getting brownouts and blackouts... the rest is going to come much much faster. Rationing of fuel is when things will start to get nasty....

Rotwang's picture

Exponential functions are a bitch to contend with.

30 pieces of silver (Judas (for those that don't get allegory)) compounded at a very modest rate since that payment, would have hollowed out the Earth.

So it didn't happen.

Neither will the human population growth of the planet be sustained, regardless of how worthy (or precious (that last foreign ADE ladle))

The numbers on the currency tickets that make it all go around, can and has grown towards infinity. But numbers are a virtual creation, and their magnitude does not always remain anchored to real human concerns.

Oil and oil consumption will not grow towards infinity.

pigpen's picture

Travis, I love your comments and laconic style. NO BS.

So few people understand ramping of production rates vs dr. seuss type numbers of reserves. 1000 bizilliongigillion barrels of oil in reserve.

Here is canada and how hard it is to ramp production significantly.

Alberta's Oil Sands, the second largest source of oil in the world after Saudi Arabia. Through responsible development, advancement of technology and significant investment, the Government of Alberta in conjunction with industry seeks to enhance Alberta's role as a world-leading energy supplier. New projects are being added every year and production is expected to increase from 1.31 million barrels per day in 2008 to 3 million barrels per day in 2018, keeping pace with demand and providing a sound economic basis for the future.

lemonobrien's picture

to me this is the big motherfucker in the room; i have no idea why some many people see gold as the savior to their wealth; oil bitches; it's $70 now like gold was $800 after the fall; and if you're think'n long term; it only goes up; while gold... really has no practical use; if you're thinking about making money; you think about oil, cause everyone will need it; and it's limit; and will only go up.

ANewUSA's picture

I wonder, all the peak oil deniers, can you give us some idea why you can't grasp this shortage?  

Can you give us:

- Your age,

- do you own oil stock,

- do you watch fox news, or do you depend on Rush Limbaugh to arrive at your opinions?

- Do you ever second source your opinion with real outside research, from a non-political source?

- Is Peak Oil, a "Political" position to you, instead of an economic one?




Screwball's picture

Exactly - then call us sheep.  Fuck'em.

spekulatn's picture

Irony bitchez!

"Add Jesse Jackson’s ride to prominent vehicles being stripped in Detroit.

Following the embarrassing news that Mayor Dave Bing’s GMC Yukon was hijacked by criminals this week, Detroit’s Channel 7 reports that the Reverend’s Caddy Escalade SUV was stolen and stripped of its wheels while he was in town last weekend with the UAW’s militant President Bob King leading the “Jobs, Justice, and Peace” march promoting government-funded green jobs.

Read that again: Jackson’s Caddy SUV was stripped while he was in town promoting green jobs. Add Jesse to the Al Gore-Tom Friedman-Barack Obama School of Environmental Hypocrisy. While preaching to Americans that they need to cram their families into hybrid Priuses to go shopping for compact fluorescent light bulbs to save the planet, they themselves continue to live large."'s picture

this country is just one sham stacked on another platform of shams. it will topple eventually. but damn, the player's getting exposed are just coming out of the woodwork. i bought into all this crap. even took a sustainability class from these chokers. i see your point to everything ZH. just propaganda, over rated spokespeople with the microphones. i walked out on inconvenient truth, though. couldn't stand to watch gore's mug. the film's attempt to glorify this inconvenient boob-tube. that was one hell of a piece of visual/audio piece of propaganda BS.

ANewUSA's picture

lemonobrien has a point.

The future: 9 Billion People.

China now the second largest economy in the world.

China bidding for Oil Companies World Wide.

Where is the oil going to come from for this kind of Economic Third World Boom?


hedgeless_horseman's picture

Well, one thing is for sure.  China sure isn't going to pipe any oil from Iran through Afghanistan to its western border.

Oh, that's right, we are engaged in the longest war in American history, in Afghanistan, because of a bunch of Saudi Arabian terrorists flying jets into our buildings in 2001.

lemonobrien's picture

After we leave the chinese will make deals; they already made major mining deals in Afghanistan. We're caught in a catch 22; we leave they win; we don't leave, we bleed to death. This is why all the talk about Iran; Iran, China, Russia; and if you haven't heard; Russia now pumps directly to China.

hedgeless_horseman's picture

Leave?  Most of us just got there, right Barry?

No, the chi.coms will be stuck shipping oil through those highly defensible straits for some time, I am afraid.

EROEI?  No, for this effort we use this metric:  

COKFCEDBNOALLICACDPFDTCFFILDCEIMOUSD (Cheap Oil Kept From Competitive Economies Divided By Number Of American Lives Lost In Combat Against Cave Dwelling Poppy Farmers Defending Their Country From Foreign Invaders Less Defense Company Earnings In Millions Of USD)


MI_lurker's picture

Are you absolutely sure oil is a result of decaying organic material?  What if it's a byproduct of earth's core spinning around and around....

I make no claims that this is true, but I am open to the possibility that *what is assumed* to be true may in fact might just not be true.

/lurker mode back on/  ;)

Pladizow's picture




All should Watch:

Peak Everything's picture

Very sad. There are a lot of smart people on ZH that get the fundamentals of economics. Yet these same people use magical thinking for energy issues. Very soon they will learn a harsh lesson that our economy and food production are proportional to energy use.

Thanks VK for trying to educate the science morons on this site.

Marley's picture

Documentary recommendation above,"Collapse", also coorelates population to industrial revolution (cheap energy).  An eye opener, or at least something to contemplate.  On the topic, one question I've got is; If the United States is past peak production and OPEC members are at peak oil, with all it's ramifications, why are we wanting to consume the United States' last reserves as quick as possible?  You know, "Drill! Baby, Drill!Wouldn't it be purdent to save our resources for the future, on a humanistic basis?

Jim in MN's picture

Why isn't there a label on the chart for 'Tarted-Up Fascists'?  Something's not right there.

Calmyourself's picture

You doom mongers assume we are anti-science or our opinions are generated in a far right wing hothouse. I assure you that is not the case, I can also assure you that your "scientific" opinions have been denigrated and cheapened by your brethren propogating the MMGW debacle using outright lies.


You cannot convince reasonable people of your theories until you realize reasonable people want solutions along with their ration of doom.  Where are the calls for 80-200 standard design nuke plants?  That never materializes but the calls for control, taxation and big brother monitoring of the stupid populace never stops, hmmm..

spekulatn's picture

You cannot convince reasonable people of your theories until you realize reasonable people want solutions along with their ration of doom.

Peak Everything's picture

I agree that nuclear is the only feasible large scale energy source that can mitigate our coming problems. It takes a lot of surplus wealth to build a nuclear plant. And we have little surplus wealth as demonstrated by current debt crisis. Our wealth will further drop as oil production drops. Therefore we would be really wise to shed a bunch of optional expenses like military and shift these precious funds to nuclear construction. Of course even this is not a silver bullet because first problem will be decreasing liquid fuels which nuclear does not directly address.

romanko's picture

ah Peak Oil, I have a love-hate relationship with that theory

I love the theory because back in '06 when I first read of it, it opened up my eyes to bigger picture and the coming economic collapse

I hate it because the first thing I did was run out and buy expensive solar panels, a wind turbine, camp stove fuel, matches, etc... all that's sitting in boxes waiting for doomsday, when I should have been putting every penny I had into precious metals

In short, I think we have bigger fish to fry before peak oil becomes an issue, like:

a. hyperinfation

b. socialism

c. social degeneration

Marley's picture

I'll take B, Bob.  :)

Calmyourself's picture

Agreed, better use of resources.  If these come to pass and I think it will be years before A., our use of oil will drop correspondingly.

Uncle Remus's picture

d. all the above, with a bullet

CHNOPS's picture

Humans will burn or fission everything they can get their hands on; coal, natural gas, uranium, thorium and will extract energy from sunlight and wind. However, this will not be enough to maintain the high net energy fantasyland we have created. Be prepared to change, either gradually or suddenly to new living arrangements and lifestyles. There likely won’t be great investment opportunities, but rather a commandeering of just about everything until the new reality gains acceptance. I suppose its already happening as too big to fail corporations are shored up like a faltering leg on a three-legged stool.


In the end we’ll be back to relying on sunlight, simply because it is out of our reach and beyond our insatiable appetites.

Calmyourself's picture

Ahh yes the "Malthusian insatiable appetite theory"  "coal, natural gas, uranium, thorium and will extract energy from sunlight and wind"  if we do   all this how long do you think it will last before we develop fusion? Although I suppose the doomers will say pulling hydrogen from seawater is harmful..

If it comes down to it we will drill to the core and tap it or get serious about helium 3.  The people I run with are not about to crawl into the hole we are told to lie down in so Malthusian luddites can feel vindicated.

hedgeless_horseman's picture

 The people I run with are not about to crawl into the hole we are told to lie down in so Malthusian luddites can feel vindicated.

Can we please get a weather report from Mulligan's Valley?  And any naked photos of Dagny, too!

Calmyourself's picture

Since Angelina Jolie is playing Dagny in the upcoming movie, I hereby second the HH's call for nude photos! Lots of them!

CHNOPS's picture

The tools necessary for a contained fusion power plant do not yet exist, if they are possible at all. The development of fusion power would require the support of a society that is more complex than our own. We will be losing complexity from now on, even though much of it is fluff. If fusion is to come to our rescue, I would guess that it needs to be operating somewhere within the next 20 years. If not, the loss of complexity, poverty and general chaos will strip away any chance of maintaining such a complex and large-scale endeavor.


We’re starting to feel some hunger pangs but starvation is what we will be experiencing. When the caloric intake for society is not met by eating fossil fuels, we will begin to burn what small amount of fat we have (70 day grain supply, SPR). Then most energy is directed to the critical organs (military, farming, transport) while the rest of the economy lies around comatose. Then we start eating the muscle tissue (taking nourishment from existing infrastructure) until it is damaged beyond usefulness and our essential organs are so incapacitated that we collapse and die (as a civilization that could not change in time.)


trav7777's picture

the only hope for fusion is if someone brutal takes over and turns and says, ok, Trav, now wtf do we do here?

And most people will not like the truth.  Hell, I would set a reproduction permit bar at IQ 105.  The demographics trends would skew so freakin massively that people would think it was racial genocide.  Our only hope for humanity is if there is a sudden outbreak of rationality.  Right now, clearly things are headed in the opposite direction.

Only once people understand the problem or understand that they cannot understand the problem and therefore should defer to one who can, will the necessary sacrifices be made to resurrect an energy growth paradigm.  With existing human demographics, such a thing is impossible so long as one man has one vote.

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

The concept of peak oil is a reality, but the way it is presented in the article is ridiculous. The "peak oil" event will be slow over a period of decades. The key is for the developed world to survive will be implementation of an alternative transportation system immediately or the chaos described in the article will occur.

What is more of a threat is the loss of access to the middle east. It would be crippling to the US.

As for short term oil prices, they are dropping folks. No one is really using all of the the oil being produced. The commodities market is a sham like the stock market. Long term oil prices will rise though.


Jim in MN's picture

By the way if y'all want to look at something technically interesting, consider the Sabatier reaction by which methane is made from CO2 and H; this runs Sabatier reactors, which are routinely considered for manned space flight for several reasons (exothermic reaction, can be used to make fuel in the Martian atmosphere, meaning only light hydrogen need be transported).  This is what makes abiotic methane in the ocean floor, atmosphere of Titan etc.

Thus a very handy hydrocarbon can be....synthesized.  It is handy in that the most efficient electrical generation systems we have already use it--combined cycle natural gas power plants eg the most common build in the US for the past thirty years.  These natural gas CC units are so efficient (65% plus thermal efficient without back end heat recovery/CHP) why?  Because we have cannibalized the R&D going into aeroderivative turbines (jet engines) and that R&D has been super-massive for over 50 years massive why?  Because most of it is military spending.  Jets, whoosh.  Pushing the tech envelope, you better believe it.  Then we strap 'em down on a concrete pad and blast CH4 through 'em for power while boiling water with the exhaust for more power.  Hellz yeah. Works great.

So, maybe the defense budget will save all of our sorry asses in the end.  Just need a lot of hydrogen, and that can be electrolyzed out of good ol' H2O, and etc.  Costs and mass-energy balance?  Those who know, don't say; those who say don't know.  In other words we have no fucking idea....but if it works, in the end the 'price' won't matter so much now will it?

For purists, wind and hydro etc. could be used to make the H, then we make the CH4 and run everything with it...transportation could be electric, H, CH4 or some combination. 

Yes it would be goddamn expensive most likely.  But probably not expensive enough to cause the Dark Ages.  A good deal....if you like civilizations....

Also gasified biomass could provide similar service, most likely at lower cost.  See 'biomethane' powering several Scandinavian cities, soon coming to a utility near you.  NASA nut/visionary James Hanson told the UK press we have to 'run civilization on wood' and while he is really not very good at energy policy, there are extremely critical but expensive R&D tracks like hot gas cleanup and scale up of high temp/pressure gasification that are NOT HAPPENING because we are all so stupid and waste our time arguing about cap and trade and paleoclimatic data series filters.  When we're not just laying about like giant cockroaches staring at illuminated panels.

There, two helpful suggestions.  Sabatier reactors and biomass gasification to leverage existing natural gas infrastructure.  Happy Labor Day Weekend.  I rarely post in my area of actual expertise, so it's kind of a special present.

trav7777's picture

Sounds fucking AWSUMZ.

But, where does the hydrogen come from?

Did a single ONE of you like study science in high fucking school or were you ALL cheating off of me?!?!?!

Electrolysis of water for H2 fuel is net energy NEGATIVE, bud.

Jim in MN's picture


Please don't be a dippity-doo.  There is an energy cost to get the H.  So what?  The motive power, to use slightly older terminology, is not the H.  It's the electric power to make the H.  Synthesized methane is a big storage and conversion system, to get the transportation sector to work.  It's better than having it...NOT work.  I thought that was your point as well, or didn't you have one? 

Maybe you need to go back to systems theory class.  No cheating.

trav7777's picture

Jim, from this post I can only assume you are smuggling indo from Canada, bc ur fuckin high as a kite, son!

There's an "energy cost" to get the H2?  No shit?  Hydrolizing water is endothermic.  Meaning that to replace ALL natural hydrocarbons with synthesized ones, even assuming a 100% efficient, 2nd law violating process, would require MORE energy than the freakin natural hydrocarbons contain!

There's no way to cheat physics...the energy to do things has to come from somewhere. 

As for the transportation sector, a gasoline fuel cell is a better idea than any of the rest of this BS.

Systems theory, lol...unplug the system, then talk about theory.

Hulk's picture

Hydrogen so impractical, even Kalifornia has given up on it.....going to try compressed air engines next, everyone in Kalifornia knows air compresses itself for free.....'s picture

Kalifornia, know how to party.

in the city, city of compton, keeps' you rockin.

he who controls the dance floor, controls the people.

kiss kiss cutey. R.I.P. 2pak you too, HST.

Ned Zeppelin's picture

For those who are interested,  I recommend Jim Kunstler's book The Long Emergency for a no-bullshit look at Peak Oil and the problems we face. 

There are Peak Oil believers and deniers.  There are those who think it will never end ("Cornucopians.") There are those who think science will arrive "just in time" to save the day with cold fusion, electricity from quantum fluctuations, or what have you (the "Cargo Cults.")

One eye-opener that is not all that apparent: what a miracle fuel oil is, as compared to all of the other options.  And most of the solutions people offer as replacements for oil themselves depend on oil to permit their efficient manufacture and transport. 

Read the book.

Jim in MN's picture

Oil is amazing, all the work that gets done on it and yet it can be sold cheaper than bottled water half a planet away.  One would be a fool to think any change will be less than wrenching.

Energy is a bad news business for the most part.  'Cept for all the money if you are on the rent extracting side of course.

trav7777's picture

Fuck Kunstler.  fuckin jew racebaiter libtard is what he is.  read his latest blog post and tell me it doesn't make you puke.

Whether you are a tea party person or not, to hear the slander leveled at ordinary people who are just sick of the bullshit in DC...this type of demagoguery needs to be answered with gunfire in my opinion.

My recent run-in with a friend over a similar topic leads me to the conclusion that we are so far gone that war and mass death is the only solution here.  There is a time for every purpose under heaven and methinks it's time to kill.  The differences have become irreconcilable, which is highly tragic, but strenuous wishing won't unspill milk, now will it?

50 years ago if someone called you a bigot for not voting democrat or a communist for not voting GOP, they got punched in the mouth.  Nowadays, people are insulting with impunity; it's as if they were raised by wolves.  Some people even have forum avatars giving everyone the middle finger!

Greater Fool's picture


Solar energy flux at the surface of the Earth is about 1.4 kW/m^2.

Average American household electricity consumption in 2008 was--round number--1000 kW hrs / month.

Assuming 8 hours a day of sunlight and 30 days per month (hey, the sun needs coffee breaks, too), you get 240 producing hours per month.

So, that's about 336 kW hrs per m^2 month. Conversion is at best 20% efficient, however, so you'd probably need 15-20 m^2 / household to supply the need. Let's go crazy and assume we want to power 300 million households (one per person in the US): that's 6 billion square meters, or 6,000 square kilometers. Somewhere in size between Delaware and Puerto Rico.

BLM public lands in the state of New Mexico alone are almost 60,000 square kilometers.

Why is energy scarce again? Plants figured all this out about 4 billion years ago....

trav7777's picture

LOL...burn all the plants then! 

Let's see what rate do plants convert solar power to energy?

Wow, the sun is up there raining energy on us, I agree, we needed to devote our best minds to this instead of granite countertops.

But, we didn't.  We were too busy strenuously wishing for "them" to "come up with" a solution so we can perpetuate happy motoring and exurban McMansions.

We are as deer on a fucking island.  I give this problem to people to assess their intelligence.

Bacteria are in a bottle, the bottle starts empty at noon and is full at midnight; the bacteria double every minute.  At what time is the bottle half full (yes I know that it can't be literally empty at noon, assume it has one).

The vast majority of people give the wrong answer...they do not understand exponential compounding.  If you were a smart bacteria, who did understand geometric growth, you'd sound an alarm of imminent doom when the rest of the idiot bacteria were laughing at you because the bottle would be freakin at 1/1000 of capacity despite being very near time-wise to capacity.

Bold Eagle's picture

Humanity will have to alter its reliance on oil, but people used to live without it for many thousand years. An easy solution is to go back to using horses and sail ships. Quality of life may come down, but that's minor issue comparing to global warming